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Disability and Ability, U.S.

In the United States, it is well-documented that students with disabilities who enroll in colleges and universities graduate at substantially lower rates than their peers. Prior to the passage of laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1979 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, students with disabilities did not have any legal rights to accommodation services in higher education. In contrast, deaf and hard of hearing students have had the right to attend a university that teaches in sign language and English—Gallaudet University—since 1894. Gallaudet University’s graduation outcomes outperform those of colleges and universities whose students with disabilities (including those who are deaf and hard of hearing) are “mainstreamed.”

This entry explores issues of disability and ability as they relate to ...

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